I grew ill, falling victim to a steep sickness. My guilt became a heavy
burden; but, added to that, was a growing sense of love lost. Out of
my muddled mind I had come to realize that I really had cared for
that sweet girl. But the physicality of it all had smothered my sense
of love down into a deep corner of my soul. I had killed the love
that we could have held for one another. I had killed the mate of my
soul. And now I had become a lost soul.
A fabric of my being had been torn asunder. I would never ever be
My rector was concerned for my health and decided that I need return
to my family in Brittany--at least for awhile. Thus, I returned to the
home I had left years back for the seminary. I got better, though there
now was a quiet melancholy that I knew I would have to carry for the
rest of my life. Returning to the Church as a priest, it was decided that
I should remain in France. I was to go to Paris where I would train as
a theologian and teacher.
After a few years of serious theological study, I was designated a
"Master" at the Sainte-Genevieve Abbey. It was an abbey especially
built for secular canons, like myself. And truth be spoken, the
Sainte-Genevieve Abbey was fast becoming a "place of learning"
with a renown reputation.
So here I stood, as "Master Alan," teaching advanced seminarians.
Dare I be a little bit happy? I thought over this as I continued my studies
and teaching. Sometimes there were little shoots of sunlight landing
on my soul, but not one day passed by that I did not think of my lost
little maiden. And I prayed for her every night. Slowly my melancholy
lost its edge, though I knew it was always there. The theology I taught
was hopeful, in that I began picking the parts of it that always stressed
Love and Forgiveness. It soothed my soul--and, evidently, pleased the
souls of my students. I became a very popular teacher.
My popularity lasted for a few more years, but much to my surprise my
soul was beginning to lean towards a far different form of life. During
this time in Paris I had begun visiting a local Benedictine house. I had
fallen in love with the monastic liturgy, the pace of life as I viewed it
there. It was a place of peace and quiet that I was craving more and
more as the years passed.
Not unexpected, I decided that I wanted to become a Benedictine monk.
I was nearing my fortieth year, rather late to enter a novitiate; but if I
put off my decision, it could only make my prospect being accepted
only worse. So I made inquiries and was told that my best chance was
to enter the Christ Church Priory at Canterbury, in England.
The idea of going to England appealed to me. Canterbury was in that
southeastern part of England that was the ancestral home of my family.
We had never lost the idea that we were Briton. Thus, with permission
from Church Authority, I crossed the Channel. And after traveling for a
small while touring Southern England, I went to Canterbury and knocked
on the door of Christ Church Priory.